Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Do furnished cages offer better welfare for hens?

Date:
November 1, 2010
Source:
MTT Agrifood Research Finland
Summary:
A Finnish scientist has found that hens actively use the nests and perches found in furnished cages. She also found that hens lay as many eggs in furnished cages as in conventional cages, and that the bone structure of hens kept in furnished cages is stronger than that of hens kept in conventional cages.

In her doctoral dissertation Research Scientist Eija Valkonen from MTT Agrifood Research Finland found that hens actively use the nests and perches found in furnished cages. She also found that hens lay as many eggs in furnished cages as in conventional cages.

Related Articles


In addition, the study showed that the bone structure of hens kept in furnished cages is stronger than that of hens kept in conventional cages.

"In conventional cages hens lack the opportunity for exercise, which leads to fragile bones, but furnished cages improve bone mineralisation. This supports the hypothesis of improved welfare for the hens. On the other hand, perches were found to increase foot pad lesions and damages to the breastbone," Valkonen says.

Studying animal welfare not straightforward

According to Valkonen the active use of perches and nests suggests that they allow hens to perform certain behaviours identified as being important for them.

"Studying the welfare of animals is never a straightforward matter, and results are invariably ambiguous. They are always open to interpretation, at least as concerns the weighting of different welfare indicators. For example, is it more important to satisfy behavioural needs than it is to avoid the foot pad lesions?" Valkonen ponders.

Despite the room for interpretation, the research scientist believes that furnished cages are better for the hen than conventional cages.

Conventional cages soon history

From the beginning of 2012 the European Union member states will adopt a Directive prohibiting the use of conventional cages for egg-laying hens. Only furnished cages will be allowed, and they must be fitted with perches, nests and litter as well as slightly more space per hen than in conventional cages.

In Valkonen's dissertation study hens were observed in three separate experiments lasting throughout the egg-laying period, i.e. one year. The experiments studied the effects of feed protein content, energy content and limestone supplement on the production and health of hens. A fourth experiment evaluated the effects of perches on feed consumption and behaviour.

The cages under comparison were conventional cages for three hens and furnished cages for eight hens. The floor area of the conventional cages was approximately 1,970 square centimetres and that of the furnished cages 6,000 square centimetres.

Production level stays the same

In her study Valkonen specifically studied the impact of furnished cages on production and feed intake. The cage type has been under development for decades, but very little research has been done on feeding and feed consumption in this production model.

The research results show that hens in furnished cages can reach the same production level as hens in conventional cages. Although minor variation was observed in feed intake, the variation was not significant enough to change current feeding recommendations.

"The key indicator in terms of production profitability is feed conversion ratio, or feed intake per one kilogramme of eggs produced. The figure was the same for both of the cage types studied, Valkonen points out.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by MTT Agrifood Research Finland. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

MTT Agrifood Research Finland. "Do furnished cages offer better welfare for hens?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101101083200.htm>.
MTT Agrifood Research Finland. (2010, November 1). Do furnished cages offer better welfare for hens?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101101083200.htm
MTT Agrifood Research Finland. "Do furnished cages offer better welfare for hens?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101101083200.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins